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“Cocaine Bear” Review

Feb 28, 2023

This February, “Cocaine Bear,” a movie whose Wikipedia page is blocked on my school Chromebook, was released. 

Directed by Elizabeth Banks, this gory masterpiece asks the question, “what would happen if a bear was addicted to drugs?”

“Cocaine Bear” follows various groups heading into the Chattahoochee National Forest, where a drug smuggler accidentlly dropped millions of dollars worth of cocaine. 

Scandinavian hiker Olaf (played by Kristofer Hivju) is the first to witness Cocaine Bear’s ferocity when his pregnant wife is torn apart in front of him. 

Daveed (played by O’Shea Jackson Jr.), a drug dealer, and his bereaved friend Eddie (played by Alden Ehrenreich) are seeking to recover the drugs for their boss/father Syd (played by the late great Ray Liotta). 

Preteen Dee Dee (played by Brooklynn Prince) skips school with best friend Henry (Christian Convery) in order to paint a waterfall in the National Park. The two stumble upon a deposit of fallen drugs and decide to eat a spoonful of the white powder. This was one of the more difficult scenes to watch throughout “Cocaine Bear’s” runtime. 

Soon the two are attacked by Cocaine Bear, who is attracted to the smell of the sweet sweet stimulants the two children had just ingested. It appears as though Dee Dee is dragged into the bushes. 

Sari (played by Keri Russell) enters the forest searching for her aforementioned daughter Dee Dee. She joins Liz (Margo Martindale), a park ranger, and her crush, conservationist Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). 

The three don’t get far, however, as they are attacked by Cocaine Bear upon finding Henry in a tree after his earlier interaction with the deadly bear. Henry is nearly killed, but Peter, who becomes covered in cocaine, attracts CB (new abbreviation I just came up with) and gets his leg gnawed off. RIP guy from “Modern Family”. 

Back to Daveed. He’s in the Chattahoochee National Forest and things are about to go down. A gang of misfits who have been stabbing hikers jump Daveed when he refuses to empty his pockets. He easily takes down the teens, but gets stabbed in the process. Stache (played by Aaron Holliday), one of the stabbers, promises to show Daveed and Eddie where they stashed a bag of cocaine in the woods. 

The other two boys return to the park ranger’s hut after being beaten lifeless by Howard. The ranger calls an ambulance, and soon, CB returns for fresh blood. 

This scene had the classic “it’s on the roof” trope that every good monster movie needs. I loved how animated Cocaine Bear gets in this scene. Clearly the creators of this movie are aware of its silliness, and they play into that very well. 

CB gets to the door, and ranger Liz tries to shoot, but accidentlly shoots one of the teens in the process. CB proceeds to tear off the face of one of the teens by punching through a window. Liz survives, barely. 

This movie is not for the faint of heart. Most bear attack scenes involve extremely graphic gore. The amount of creativity was involved in coming up with some of the deaths is honestly impressive. 

The ambulance scene immediately comes to mind as one of the more traumatizing moments of this movie. 

When two paramedics show up, CB is hiding in a closet. One accidentally unleashes the beast, and the other carries Liz to their ambulance in order to escape. The three seem home free until CB begins chasing after the van with superbear speed. 

To the tune of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough,” Liz in a stretcher, is pulled out of the back of the ambulance and gets the world’s worst road rash. One paramedic gets his wrist snapped and other unimaginable body parts torn apart. The ambulance eventually crashes into a tree killing the last paramedic. 

Bob (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.) is a cop investigating Syd’s drug operation. He travels to Chattahoochee National Forest in order to find the missing cocaine and hopefully Syd. 

Bob discovers Stache’s stashed bag of cocaine on the roof of a gazebo, but in turn is trapped on the roof. When Daveed’s group eventually shows up, Bob holds them all at gunpoint, then shoots off two of Daveed’s fingers when they attempt to steal the bag. 

Suddenly, CB shows up… dun dun dun… and falls asleep on top of Eddie. When she wakes up, CB does this weird mating dance thing with Eddie. Then Bob gives CB the duffel bag and lures her away with more cocaine. 

Syd shows up and is furious that Daveed and Eddie failed to recover any drugs. The sun has set, but he insists the group venture further into the forest to retrieve their loot. 

The exposure in all the night scenes of “Cocaine Bear” was very low. It was hard to see what was going on, so much that I actually felt like I was in the pitch black woods without a flashlight with these people. 

Sari and Henry find Dee Dee in a cave by following a trail of paint she left. The cave leads to a waterfall. 

The ending was fairly anticlimactic. Nobody ever kills the bear, which I was sad about. CB corners everyone at this waterfall’s ledge. Syd tries to get his duffel and is killed in the process. Daveed, Eddie, Dee Dee, Henry, and Sari jump into the river and survive.  

Throughout this movie I couldn’t stop thinking about how much being eaten alive would suck and how sorry I feel for the victims. I wasn’t laughing that much honestly, but I think that’s just because I’m not the right type of person for this kind of movie. 

I think they could’ve made some of the characters more horrible. One of the best parts of movies in this category is that there’s always one guy that is literally the worst and when he eventually dies we get to cheer. 

“Cocaine Bear” took a stab at this trope with Syd, but he simply was awful enough for me to be excited about his death. 

All-in-all, I enjoyed this. Watching this in a packed theater made some moments much more enjoyable. Not every movie needs to be a film. Every now and then you need a silly stupid fun movie like this.

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